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Department of Chemistry

Physical Chemistry Research

Penn State chemistry advances the frontiers of emerging and traditional areas of physical chemistry research, ranging from collective nonequilibrium biological phenomena and plasmonic nanoparticles to protein dynamics and chemical dynamics in solution.  We develop and apply advanced spectroscopic techniques and computational methods that transcend conventional boundaries to incisively probe outstanding questions from biological, energy, environmental, and materials chemistry.  We thrive via strongly integrated interdisciplinary collaborations.




Igor Aronson Huck Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Mathematics
Experiments and theory for nonequilibrium active materials

John Asbury Professor of Chemistry
Ultrafast spectroscopy of photovoltaic materials

Phil Bevilacqua Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biophysics and bioinformatics of RNA

David Boehr Associate Professor of Chemistry
NMR spectroscopy of protein dynamics

Bert Chandler Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical Engineering
Environmental Catalysis; Nanoparticle & Materials Synthesis; Catalytic Reaction Mechanisms

Paul Cremer J. Lloyd Huck Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Spectroscopy of proteins, complex solutions, and interfaces

Miriam Freedman Professor of Chemistry
Spectroscopy and microscopy of interfaces and aerosols

Danielle Reifsnyder Hickey Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering
Atomic-resolution investigation, transformation, and synthesis of nanomaterials

Lasse Jensen Professor of Chemistry
Theory and computational methods for surface spectroscopies

Chris Keating Professor of Chemistry
Phase behavior in model biological cells and bottom-up self-assembly

Ken Knappenberger Professor of Chemistry
Ultrafast spectroscopy of light-harvesting nanomaterials

Gerald Knizia Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Electronic structure theory and computational methods

Ben Lear Associate Professor of Chemistry
Spectroscopy of nanoparticle surfaces

Tae-Hee Lee Professor of Chemistry
Single-molecule spectroscopy of nucleosomes

Stewart A. Mallory Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Computational, Theoretical, Materials.

Mark Maroncelli Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Spectroscopy and simulations of solvation and complex solvents

Will Noid Professor of Chemistry
Statistical physics of proteins and active materials, multiscale modeling

Ed O’Brien Associate Professor of Chemistry and of the Institute for CyberScience
Theory and computational methods for biophysics in vivo

Scott Showalter Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
NMR spectroscopy and biophysics of intrinsically disordered proteins

Alexey Silakov Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Spectroscopy of metalloenzymes and intrinsically disordered proteins

Lauren Zarzar Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Stimuli-responsive materials, laser synthesis and patterning

Ruobo Zhou Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
Super-resolution fluorescence imaging, single-molecule detection, spatiotemporal organizations of biomolecules, liquid-liquid phase separation in biology, neurobiology, RNA biology.


Courtesy Faculty

Vincent Crespi Distinguished Professor of Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemistry
Theories for novel materials

Nikolay Dokholyan G. Thomas Passananti Professor, Penn State College of Medicine
Theory and experiments for translational medicine

Denise Okafor Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Experiments and simulations of protein function

Rob M. Rioux Friedrich G. Helfferich Professor of Chemical Engineering
Surface spectroscopy of catalysts

Susan Sinnott Department Head Materials Science and Engineering
Computational studies of surfaces, interfaces, defects, layered materials, and nanoscale materials

Adri Van Duin Kenneth Kuan-Yun Kuo Early Career Professor
Development of models and simulation tools for chemical reactions


Adjunct Faculty

Xin Zhang 
Biophysics of protein aggregation in vivo